If we are wasting time, we are wasting our lives. We trade out our energy for time and our life is made up of time. So when we waste our energy, we waste our time, and we waste our lives. What are you doing with your time? What are you doing with your life?
What I’ve found in my years of consulting, working with leaders of organizations, entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs and from self-study is that leaders are learners and those that learn more, earn more. What I believe to be true from my experience is that when you’re done learning. . . . you’re done. I view life-long learning as something to look forward to in the quest for continuous improvement.
Some studies suggest the average American watches 6 hours of TV per day, making the average 60 year old an avid TV viewer of 15 years of his life, a quarter of a lifetime vegging on the couch! So what if we all eliminated 1 hour of TV per day = 365 hours per year, which equals 2 months of additional time. That equates to 9 average 40-hour work-weeks to do what is more important in your life than click away in front of a screen. And many of us wish we had more time to do the things we like to do. May I suggest re-organizing your time?
My experience has also shown that leaders are readers. If we read just 1 substantive book per week, that’s 520 books in 10 years and if those books are in an area of interest where you make your livelihood, that would make you an expert in your field, and experts are in demand. If you’re reading the gossip publications all week. . . that’s another story altogether.
What about the time spent in your car commuting? The average American commutes 30 minutes each way from work which equals 1250 hours in your car in 5 years. That’s enough time spent in your car for a college education. Are you listening to schlock or are you learning a language or something useful to society or your family or yourself? How are you choosing to spend your time and spend your life?
What about delegating the tasks that can be done better by somebody else, somebody you will gladly pay to take the work off your hands. I have chosen in the past to do some home improvements on my own. It somehow always looks better in my mind than in real life; hence the electricians and carpenters parading through my home at the moment. I know my limits and I know what don’t want to do and what I need to be doing. . . . what I do best . . . which is not installing crown molding, or cleaning windows, or doing my taxes. I pay others to have those little pieces of my life back and save a few gray hairs in the process.
What are you trading your life for? What could you outsource that fits somebody else’s genius to save you the stress? How could you better use your time? What are you reading/watching/listening to? Are you moving yourself forward with your choices or are you treading water in your comfort zone and checking out? Learning new things gives us energy, passion, zest and zeal. Teaching does the same. Once you’ve learned something new, why not pass it along to others?
Here’s your challenge: don’t just delegate, eliminate. Create a stop-doing list along with your to-do list. Name your list a “policy” because most of us follow policies and we respond to policies vs. mere suggestions because a policy is a boundary. What is on your stop-doing list?
As the economy limps out of the pits with so many people fallen down during the past few years; I’ve noticed how some people have bounced back quite nicely while others are still stumbling along. It’s curious to me what kind of characteristics, behaviors, mindsets and other stuff do the Bounce-Backers have that the Stumblers may not possess….or just not know that they possess?
After many lengthy conversations with clients and others who have both bounced back and stumbled back; along with more research and reading on the topic of human resilience and the art of the comeback. I’d like to share some of the findings from my hunt for answers.
Psychologists agree that some people are born with more resilience than others and they also point out that it’s within all of us to cultivate more resilience by adjusting how we view adversity. Do we let it become our total reality forevermore or do we think of it as a temporary detour, a bump in the road and a minor setback? Do we let our adversity (name your favorite: divorce, death, disease, debt, addiction, foreclosure, job loss) define us, or is it just life? I’m pretty sure nobody who has lived very long has escaped all of the aforementioned situations. Resilience refers to our capacity to deal with discomfort and adversity. It’s not just a reactive skill set, but a set of characteristics and traits that enrich our lives.
Highly resilient folk are adaptive to situations, remain flexible and even welcome and thrive on change. It keeps them on their toes, excited for new challenges and they expect to bounce back and have the confidence that they will. There is no question in their mind that they have the skill sets and the mind set to attain something bigger than the adversity flavor of the moment. They have a knack for creating good out of what may seem to others as bad luck. They can see the other side and are creative thinkers.
According to top researchers here are the 5 most powerful ways to get real about resilience and bounce back for your comeback:
1. Positive Thinking, even in the midst of adversity. Resilient people can still hold positive thoughts about positive outcomes during a negative situation while others may only hold onto the negative and really can’t see the positive in an adverse situation. Our emotional patterns are triggered by our thinking patterns. So if we want to curtail negative emotions, start with more positive thoughts such as how did this seemingly “bad” thing happen and what good can come of it – what is the lesson. One way to build on this skill is to notice, appreciate and be grateful for more positive things in your life to build your positivity muscle and build resilience and make positive life deposits, so when there is a negative withdrawal; you already have so many grateful deposits that you can balance it out.
2. Look for the Learning Point. The more you look for the lesson to be learned in adversity and how it can help you grow, evolve and become better; the more you use it as a tool for growth, then the more you will rise above the issues. When you become bigger than your problem, your ability to handle bigger and bigger issues grows as well. Learn to problem-solve as soon as you see something looming. Cultivate your curiosity about adversity issues and embrace a learner’s mindset.
3. Be in Service – Gratitude Pushes out Fear. When gratitude and service in love and kindness come in the front door; fear runs out the back door. Open your mind and open your heart to turn situations around and teach others how you got through it to help them through similar adversity. How can you pass along what you learned to others seeking help and support? Put things into perspective by being grateful for all the things that are going right in your life so when adversity strikes, there is a much bigger ratio of things that are going well. One of my mentors challenged her people to change up how they answer to the ubiquitous question of “how are you doing?” and I will challenge you to the same. Instead of saying “fine”….say “I’m grateful, and you?”. It reminds your brain how grateful you are to be alive and be in the presence of others who care enough to ask. See how you feel after practicing that little change in your life for a few weeks. It’s a reminder to yourself just how grateful for everything we are.
4. Honoring Yourself and Your Body – Taking Care of the Temple. Cultivating good health habits, eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise help make our body strong and our resilience strong…or at least easier to deal with the stresses that come with adversity. I just heard a story by Brian Williams on the Nightly News that stated 41 million Americans are sleep deprived costing companies over $63Billion per year in productivity loss. I don’t know about you but if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m worthless. My brain doesn’t fire as fast, I’m groggy, I can’t focus and my energy wanes. Good sleep is essential to building resilience. Taking care of yourself also means taking care of your social connections and I don’t mean social media and the so-called “friends” you may have online. I’m talking the real deal. The people you can call when your car breaks down or when you break down to come listen or help or lend a hand. Real friendships, love and connections help build resilience. During my world travels; I’ve always found that if I’m traveling solo and bump up against an adverse action it feels a little scary, but if I’m with a friend in a similar situation it becomes and adventure and a challenge and we rise to the occasion and start problem-solving.
5. Laugh Through it – Hold onto Your Humor. Not that it’s a laughing matter, but laughter can get you through some tough spots. It can be pain relieving – as found by Dr. Norman Cousins in his famous book Anatomy of an Illness, finding that 10 minutes of good belly laughter can induce 2 hours of restful sleep without medicine in patients. As a Certified Laughter Leader; I’ve lead groups and coached individuals and practiced laughter to reduce tension during tense moments. When you consciously choose to be playful with a situation, it becomes empowering that you do have a choice in the matter and it signals to your brain and body that you are bigger and better than the adversity – you can laugh at yourself or the situation. Laughter is a release of tension – the same as crying and sometimes you do both, but get it out of your system to build your resilience.
Those are your marching orders to help you bounce back for your comeback. I hope you find some ideas that help you get real about your resiliency and here’s to facing adversity and laughing in its face. Cheers to you for your courage to step forward from (temporary) setbacks!
Some people, it seems, are just born with a more optimistic attitude and outlook, while others focus on the gloom and doom. The research on optimism fills volumes and I wanted to give you some quick tips on practicing safe stress, being more happy and how to be in a better mood for the holidays and every day. It may take more effort during the blustery gray, rainy/snowy days of winter amidst the holiday bustle; but well worth it for your own well-being and for the sake of others in your path. Our energy is contagious – just ask Caesar Milan – the Dog Whisperer – our energy is everything to a dog…and to your neighbors, co-workers and your spouse and friends.
Since your time is short, I’ll make this snappy:
- Get moving – I prefer to think of it as “activity” vs. “exercise” – it just seems more palatable to people to relieve stress and release endorphins. It can be a full-blown cardio/strength/flexibility workout or a brisk walk in the park or even mall walking (before the stores open and before the crowds arrive). If you haven’t tried Zumba or hip hop classes – the music alone will put you in a good mood, even if you’re out of breath.
- Eat breakfast and include protein – some research says eating 60% more protein if you’re lifting weights – donuts don’t count.
- Be smart about your diet, less white stuff, more color, more water-content food/drink, variety and healthy. Enjoy some of your favorite good mood foods in moderation – whatever that may be, cookies, mac and cheese, eggnog, dark chocolate…. think comfy food.
- Hug it out – physical affection and the power of touch helps with happiness – petting a puppy or kitten can help lower blood pressure and calm your nerves.
- Get outside – breathe in fresh air, get out in the woods and catch the negative ions from the pine trees -leave your cell and texting activities in your pocket – this is about nature and you communing and not about you tweeting that you’re in the woods.
- Be in the moment, experience it fully and decide what types of moments you want to have. Don’t like crowds – then avoid the mall, agitated in line – change the time of day for this activity. Stressed over the big holiday feast – suggest a nice restaurant or change it up. Financially stressed about all the gifts you need to get – let everybody know you’re opting out of unfettered consumerism this year and want a pot-luck social gathering instead – don’t fret about the future. Choose wisely where your brain is and focus on the here and now.
- Be grateful – fear goes out the back door when gratitude walks in the front door. Decide to be in a state of grace and gratitude and you will be granted more things to be grateful for.
- Say nice things to others – compliments share positive energy and that’s contagious. Help make the holiday bright with sincere positive praise.
- Focus on making happy memories – invest in experiences and bring others along for the ride. Shared experiences amp up the positive vibe.
10. Listen to upbeat music, dance, sing.
11. Play with your pet or visit a dog park and delight in their bouncing energy.
12. Smile more and stand/sit up straight – good posture promotes elevated spirits. Smiling stimulates the thymus gland, which produces T-cells, which means people who are smiling get sick less often and feel better than those who don’t smile. Smiling is also contagious. At least a hundred studies on how smiling can actually lift your mood – it fakes out your body into thinking it’s happier.
13. Wear comfortable shoes – comfy clothes too. Comfy doesn’t equal sloppy or baggy – when you feel better about your looks and your looks feel better, everybody is happier. A recent survey found 41% of women felt happier when they felt prettier. I’m guessing the men felt happier too.
14. Cashmere, cashmere, cashmere – who couldn’t be in a better mood when you slip on some cashmere?
15. Friends, friends, friends – in any way shape or form of personal contact and socialization elevates our energy. Choose positive friends and be a positive friend – nobody likes being around negative people.
16. Avoid over-obligations and over-scheduling, especially during the holidays. If you need a holiday from the holidays, you missed the point.
17. Laugh out loud – cultivate your sense of humor. As a Certified Laughter Leader who studied how laughter and fun affect us in positive ways; it actually changes your brain chemicals and changes the chemical make-up in your blood. They’ve found markers in your blood which change even when you anticipate a good time or a funny movie or fun activity – even days before the activity.
18. Be kind – kindness also changes your blood chemistry and raises serotonin, which counter-acts depression. Whether you are the giver, receiver or witnessing by-stander, kindness works.
19. Positive self-talk – it’s a tried and true tip to blast yourself with positive self-talk and avoid beating yourself up through your self-talk. Our mindset is EVERYTHING. Our behavior starts with our thoughts – choose wisely to change your outcomes.
20. Try something new – enjoy beginner’s brain again and experience some wonder and awe in your life – discover something new you didn’t know how to do before: cooking, weaving, skiing, dog-sledding, volunteering, wearing red lipstick, painting, riding a unicycle or Zumba.
21. Upbeat live entertainment: comedy clubs, karaoke, theatre, ballet, concerts, coffee shop guitarists and children’s plays.
22. DECIDING to be in a good mood – just change your mind to change your energy and you can change your life and also change the energy of those around you. Your colleagues and friends will thank you.
23. Get plenty of sleep, or take naps. Most Americans get far too little sleep – no wonder we’re a nation of tired and cranky people. It’s hard to be in a good mood if you’re completely exhausted. Can you get help, delete some of your chores, set boundaries, close the door, do not disturb.
24. Keep a check on what you watch on TV or view on your computer or listen to over the airwaves – we’re bombarded with negativity.
25. Outsource the things you don’t enjoy or are not comfortable doing, barter or negotiate something different. Hire somebody to do whatever is not in your zone of excellence or genius and pay them for their skills to make both of you happier.
26. Volunteer to help out your community, a favorite cause or favorite place – being of service serves all involved and puts you in a better mood to feel needed and worthy and that what you’re doing matters.
That’s enough to get you started on the right path to save yourself this holiday and every day you want a little mood lifter. And as a gift to you, 1 extra tip…always give more than expected! A happy life is just a bunch of happy moments and good moods all strung together. I invite you to create your own list or maybe cut your list into strips and put in a jar. Whenever you’re feeling low, grab a piece of paper with one of your activities or ideas on it and do it right then.
Here’s to happier holidays by practicing some safe stress and being purposeful about putting yourself in a good mood. Everybody else wants you there as well. Cheers!
With only a hanful of holidays a year, many who work in W-2 land only get a handful of days to recharge and spend quality time with whomever they please. Those of us in entrepreneur land get to choose whichever day we darn well please to spend quality time to do whatever we want. I like to create holi-moments on a daily or weekly basis. Some of the moments are fleeting like watching the sunset or breathing in the crisp air after it’s just snowed in the mountains on my morning jaunt or meeting with the pups along my route for a quick scritch and tail wag. Some holi-moments take more time such as a spa day, a pedicure or a great meal and live entertainment.
In order to become and remain energized and live a vital life, we need to pay attention to our moments and not just our holidays to lift our spirits and create joy in our lives. I vowed decades ago to not participate in the usually seasonal holiday mall madness, the stressful dashing about, the traffic around shopping areas and the obligations if it wasn’t enjoyable to me, which it isn’t. My declaration is to stay away from the mania in order to keep my sanity and polite, positive disposition. If it feels like an obligation and isn’t enjoyable or genuine from the heart with a sincere desire, then don’t do it.
Don’t fall prey to unfettered consumerism or the unjoyful acts of the season if it’s not energizing to you. I’ve streamlined holiday decorating to take 30 minutes and thoroughly enjoy it and the after effect. I don’t feel any stress whatsoever during this time of year and I’ve got a great system to sending out holiday cards and gifts from my home office while the fireplace crackles and holiday music plays on my stereo. I get to enjoy the good things and dispose of all the negative side effects by ascertaining what stresses me and make plans to avoid that list.
So whats on your list of stressors? What feels like an obligation to you? What can you cross off your holiday list of things to not do next year? How will you create holi-moments in your daily or weekly life so you don’t have to wait until the holidays to take time to revitalize your life and your work? When we’re personally revitalized, our work is revitalized. Everybody who comes into our life also feels the benefits of an un-stressed you. Make time for holi-moments and make a stand for making time for yourself and making your own rules on how to handle holidays and every day with grace and joy. And if you want my top secret technique for card sending and gift giving, send me an email and I’ll reveal my trade secret: Gail@GailHahn.com or visit BizBuilderCards.com.
Working with corporate clients with huge employee payrolls or entrepreneurs who go it solo, there seems to be a common thread among professionals in this economy and particularly this season – they’re tired.
Execs to entrepreneurs and employees to entire organizations seem to be on their last nerve and in search of something to happen to regain their confidence, improve their outlook and pump them up with some hope and energy to face another day.
I’ve made it my life’s mission to help energize others and help theim regain their balance and reclaim their passion for their purpose. To light a fire under professionals to reach their potential. My advice is the same salad with a little different dressing as it has been for decades and it’s an inside job.
To revitalize your results, you need to recharge your mindset and re-assess what’s important and re-align what it is you focus on. What we focus on expands and where intention goes, energy flow. What are you thinking about daily? Are you focusing on what you DON’T want or what you DO WANT? Always focus on what you DO want and be very clear about what results you seek.
To listen to archives of past talk shows I’ve hosted on many levels of energizing your life and revitalizing your results, check out the 15-30 minute shows at The Energized Entrepreneur Show on The Women’s Information Network. You men can listen too!
The holiday season is really no different than the stress of a down economy or any other day- just take it one day at a time and focus on the results you want. Do you want a stress-free holiday shopping season – don’t go shopping. Give experiences, use internet shopping, send your cards, gift cards and gifts through a system at BizBuilderCards.com to send a campaign of cards and gifts in minutes for what used to take you days. Want even less stress – forget the expectations of the big meals and change it up a bit with something more uniquely you and start new traditions. Who says you have to do the same ol’, same ol’ each holiday. Forget airport security lines and create your own holiday in your own home and use Skype. 🙂
Some traditions may actually be bad habits that don’t suit you today. Take a hard look at what you’ve been doing at all levels of your life and in your business and ask yourself if they are still getting the results you seek. If not, ditch them or at least tweak them.
Revitalize your results by brainstorming what you DO want in your life, in your holiday, in your business and in your future, then focus on manifesting what you want. Don’t ask how, manifest now. Happy holidays and let me know how you are practicing safe stress and revitalizing your results. Send me an email at Gail@GailHahn.com
As a former Recreation Professional (yes we got paid to play); we knew that it wasn’t just about the leisure activity we provided that provided the benefits to our participants, it was their mindset when they were participating.
Come to think of it, I’m not sure ‘former’ is appropriate, maybe ‘recovering’ would be a better term. I will always have a recreation and leisure outlook on life and will always embrace the importance of play, fun, re-creating, re-charging and renewing my mind, body and spirit.
I digress…. You see, we can be gardening, playing in the garden or working in the garden. It can be the same activity, but our mindset while we are doing it can be very different and thus create very different outcomes. Is cooking a joy and a creative experience to show love or is it a chore you must do to get fed? What is your mindset towards your activities?
What once was a joy can become a burden simply because of your mindset. Sort of like what attracted you to a person, may become annoying? Sound familiar? Minding our mindset when we are involved in the moment, in an activity can influence our material outcomes and our emotional/stress management outcomes as well.
Are you in the flow and in the moment? Are you fully aware and experiencing what you’re doing in that moment, or are you distracted, pre-occupied, thinking in the future or worrying about the past, or just not into it? Being in the flow, where the challenge meets our skills and time disappears is renewing, refreshing and fun.
If you’re doing an activity and finding yourself in a negative mindset, then you’re likely not reaping the benefits of your actions. If you’re just going through the motions, you may need to find another motion that’s more fulfilling or building more resilience to stress, rather than producing stress.
Minding our mindsets can help us fully engage in our lives, fully express and experience our activities and fully be in the moment without regard to the outside influences. Being conscious of our mindset throughout our day, whether work or play (or is it all play?) can help us reap greater rewards for a richer life.
Time outs are not only for unruly children. I believe we all need to call a time out once in a while for our sanity. Taking time to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, our business, our physical bodies, our emotional well-being, our homes, our life or just to enjoy our surroundings near or far, here or on vacations.
I’ve written in prior posts about taking holi-moments when we can’t take holidays. Taking some time for yourself is critical for being the best we can be for ourselves, our work and others. If we are burned-out, rusted-out, worn-out and about to give-out, then we are not any good for others. We can’t give what we don’t have. And that includes our energy.
We must guard our appointments with ourselves to amp up our energy as fiercely as we guard our appointments with other important people such as doctors, clients, family and friends. It’s all about balance and giving ourselves permission to do what feels right and knowing when we need to take ourselves out of the game for a period of time. Call an adult swim and take 10 minutes, or 10 hours, 10 days or 10 months if you need it to come back refreshed and renewed. That’s what sabbaticals are for, or as I call them self-batticals.
One friend calls them ‘rewind days’ where she just takes care of life – bills, laundry, cleaning, letters and other catch-up stuff. I call a housekeeper to do that! 🙂 You may set aside time for physical activity, meditation, dreaming, scheduling, journaling, writing or other rituals that recharge you.
We must serve and take care of ourselves so we can attract others who want to do the same. Our health, wealth and vitality vibrate and resonate with others who are feeling similarly. If you want to attract healthy, vibrant clients, be healthy, vibrant and vital. We attract who we are and not what we want.
I recently gave myself a permission slip to mourn the loss of my only child, my dog Madison. She was my first and only. She was my muse, my heart, my joy, my model and a legend in my greeting card business. She was my daily ritual, my time-out. Even when I wasn’t quite ready for a time-out, she would ever so gently paw at me or just look at me with that face to let me know I’d spent too much time on the computer and it was time to walk and play.
I took a time out last week to allow her play time and allow me to mourn and celebrate her life. We had the ultimate last day for a doggie day: went to the dog park, played squeaky, romped in the people park, drove with the windows down and the wind in our ears, and then took the last drive to doggie heaven. Her spirit is all around and I am reminded to take time out and enjoy the day, take time out for myself even though I don’t have that little reminder nudging me. I took off last week to renew my spirit after she passed and I do it without feeling guilty.
In loving memory of Madison, my puppy-mill-rescued little girl. Take some time out for yourself and go play.